Ten Years After Katrina: New Orleans’ Recovery, and What Data Had to Do with it

map Open data matters most when the stakes are high

As a New Orleanian, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. In the days of the aftermath, we had a tremendous effort ahead of us, and government at all levels did too: Understanding the extent of the flooding, conducting damage assessments, providing temporary housing for displaced residents, rebuilding the levee system, distributing rebuilding dollars, and issuing building and demolition permits. One of the great lessons we learned through the experience was the power of data to illuminate our path to recovery.

Ten years ago, the concept of “open data” had not yet taken hold within the government.

Back then, accessing even basic government data involved a formal public-records request and often came with restrictive data-sharing agreements. As a result, in post-Katrina New Orleans, the public didn’t have easy access to many government data sets tracking recovery activities. The public could view some government records, one at a time, but because the data were not available in their entirety — in a structured, machine-readable, “open” format — citizens couldn’t download, analyze, or innovate on these data sets.

Read the rest of Denice’s article on the White House Medium channel…


Next City: The Data Dividend

(Sep 2010) Next City: The Data Dividend

Christian Madera interviews Kurt Metzger (Data Driven Detroit), Denice Ross (Greater New Orleans Community Data Center) and Amy Liu (Brookings).

“When it comes to making cities better, accurate and abundant data are powerful tools. In New Orleans and Detroit, which share many challenges — including vacant property and high crime and poverty — open data can help citizens improve their communities, officials strategize for effective change, and foundations and developers identify investment opportunities.”

Read more at Next City…